Verve is a European live agency specialising in event and brand activation, currently working with five of the top ten global brands. Boasting more than 25 years of award-winning experience, Verve has built an enviable client list, including Diageo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Google, Huawei and Facebook.
Verve takes a different approach, rather than ‘disrupt’ the festival-goers’ experience, it believes activation should add value. This ensures consumers choose to ‘opt in’ to brand experiences to provide deeper, more meaningful engagement. Verve’s strategy is to develop simple but engaging activations to which consumers enjoy, share and remember. This approach is proven to increase purchase consideration moving forwards.
With established operations bases in London and Dublin and a new office in Amsterdam imminent, Verve has built up a diverse catalogue of festival activations for a broad range of brands within the alcohol, energy, soft drinks, food and social media sectors.
Verve works alongside a range of high-profile drinks brands within the festival space, a good example being the Guinness Jazz Festival, where it created activations featuring three separate experience areas. Verve also manages Guinness’s rugby and racing sponsorship portfolio across the UK and Ireland, driving visibility and fan experiences for the brand within stadia, and surrounding venues and in ‘Third Space’.
Head of Verve GB Olivia Collier says the agency is continually looking at pushing the boundaries for festival activations. "We strive to innovate within the festival environment for the benefit of festival attendees and our clients – we create a meaningful place for brands to have fun within the consumer’s rituals and behaviour."
Global food delivery giant Just Eat wanted to engage with and educate potential customers, particularly targeting millennials, about its offline service to boost app downloads and orders. Verve developed a ‘Summer of Festivals’ themed sponsorship, across eight events.
Working with Verve, Just Eat brought its online ordering and delivery experience to life through the ‘Just Eat Waiter Service’, bringing food and drink to festival-goers. This took the pain out of queuing for food, while staying true to the core purpose of Just Eat – making food discovery more exciting for everyone. The brand added value by providing a Just Eat Retreat – a destination where consumers could escape for beauty treatments. National spontaneous brand awareness increased considerably as a result.
Enhancing the festival experience through social and digital isn’t just an option anymore; it’s now an absolute ‘must do’ for brands like Coca-Cola.
"Festival activation is an incredible opportunity for brands giving them rich, localised content that can be amplified across multiple channels. We make sure the path from offline experience to online advocacy is as simple and intuitive as possible," says John Kilcullen, Verve’s head of digital. "As consumers crave authentic experience, shareable content and social currency, it’s essential that brands approach live experience with a ‘social first’ mindset – if it’s not seen on social and digital, it didn’t happen."
Verve designed innovative festival activations for Coca-Cola during 2016 targeting the young adult market, a key demographic. The campaigns ranged from the creation of the first-ever thermosensitive vending machine to a 360-degree
Selfie Stage, as well as VIP Lounges. To promote Coca-Cola’s Selfie Stick offer, Verve designed one of the first 360 Selfie Stages utilising the Selfie Sticks, investing in the latest technology to create a touring stage that captured selfies from every angle and could immediately be shared socially as a 360 selfie gif. The activations generated a substantial uplift in brand consideration in the young adult market.
Verve has worked with national energy supplier Electric Ireland on its sponsorship of Electric Picnic music and arts festival for seven years. Last year’s festival saw 55,000 ‘picnickers’ enjoy a weekend of music, entertainment and unique experiences.
As official energy partner of Electric Picnic, Electric Ireland hosts a stage. Verve developed a 90s-themed ‘PowerParty’, with a three-day schedule of acts, including a dance-off ring and performances from 90s icons the Venga Boys, 2 Unlimited and Bananarama. Festival-goers could also take some time out to chill while watching movies such as Grease and Top Gun. Electric Ireland and 90s PowerParty scored the highest percentage for brands that had the most impact at Electric Picnic.
"Last year we took the Electric Picnic festival to another level creating a mezzanine level to increase the viewing area," explains Collier. "This really grew annual crowd numbers and outstripped performances from Bacardi and Heineken. For an energy brand to surpass two drinks brands at a festival is rare."
This festival sponsorship is shifting perceptions of the utility provider, building share within this demographic, many of whom are going to be choosing energy suppliers for the first time.
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